While some fans wonder who will become the future clubhouse and on field leader of the Orioles, the Birds have two players right now who are leaders on this team.
That’s Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis.
Okay, no one confuses their style of leadership with that of Frank Robinson from the 1966 World Champs and they are not vocal in the clubhouse like a Kevin Millar.
But they are well respected by their teammates and are leaders for two primary reasons - performance and seniority.
Roberts is entering his 10th year and Markakis his 5th as an Oriole. And they remain two of the best players on the team, as they’ve always been.
They are cornerstones of this franchise and that is one reason both got new contracts for big bucks before the 2009 season.
Then they went out and played good baseball, not resting on their greenbacks even a little.
Markakis missed one game and Roberts three. Markakis drove in 101 runs while Roberts hit 56 doubles and set career highs in two baggers, runs and RBI and was named Most Valuable Oriole.
Barring a trade, they will remain Orioles together at least through the 2013 season.
While they may not be considered leaders by some, you can bet their younger teammates and maybe even some of the newer vets on the team look to that pair often.
They watch their work ethic, how they approach the game, how they deal with O’s management, fans and media and they also notice their considerable talents.
My guess is, inside that clubhouse they are like that old E.F. Hutton commercial - when they speak, people listen. They don’t look to stand out with any comments or interviews, but are likely to have plenty of wisdom to impart to teammates either one on one or as part of a bigger group.
They have become All-Star caliber players for the Orioles who can be counted on for consistent and solid performance every year. Put it in ink, not pencil.
While the 2010 season is about the O’s hopefully winning more and the younger players continuing to take steps forward, through it all we should be able to count on B-Rob and Nick, same as always.
They’ll play every day, through nagging bumps and bruises and put up solid numbers. They’ll remain fan favorites and do some solid things in our community.
Their teammates will look to them to lead and carry a heavy load. And, like they have been doing for years, they will do so while seeking little publicity or fanfare.